He wasn’t a good dog…

he was a great dog!

Daunt-EditThere is no decision that we can make that doesn’t come with some sort of balance or sacrifice.

Simon Sinek

I’ve been listening to Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why” and it is one powerful message so it comes as no surprise that this quote should pop into my head as I’m writing this.

This was a beautiful story and being the dog lover that I am, I never tire of hearing “Daunt” stories.

He had an exceedingly hard start to his life having been in the possession of a hoarder for the first four years of his life. A hoarder who was forced to surrender countless dogs kept in appalling conditions. Hoarding is a medical condition that manifests itself in many ways but the common thread is acquiring and refusing to part with “things”.

Having been involved in the clean-up of a home belonging to a hoarder, this story breaks my heart because we’re not just talking about stacks of paper and junk, we’re talking about living, breathing, animals kept in neglectful, abusive situations.

Unlike some stories though, this one did have a fairytale ending when one man took the time to visit the shelter on several occasions and gain the trust of this particularly challenging dog. One who did not like men, but bonded hard and fast with this man, surprising even the animal behaviorist on site to assist in the transitions.

Fast forward a decade or so and we find that sometimes our animal relationships are more enduring and balanced than those we share with other humans and sacrifices are made that are incredibly difficult.

They did not get to spend the last year and a half together, the decision being made that Daunt was better off finishing his life in the home that he’d known best. A home where he would still be cared for. A safe decision for a dog who’d endured so much trauma in the early years.

This photo was shared with me on their last visit together, knowing at the time that it would likely be the last visit.

I couldn’t be with someone who didn’t share my passion for dogs and even writing this brings tears to my eyes as I think of the strength it took for him to say good-bye to his dog for the last time.

Rest in peace, Daunt, rest in peace.

This holiday season…

enjoy every moment.

DSC_3355-EditThe past, like the future, is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities.

Stephen Hawking

This image brings to a close over 12,000 hits, four years of weekly blog posts, and a whole lot of changes.

I remember writing my first post and agonizing over the image choice and the words to accompany it. Today I realize that choices are just like pathways that we encounter on a daily basis and the more we get in touch with ourselves the easier it becomes to decide which one to take.

Today’s image was taken Christmas morning, just at the point when the sun was able to burn through the layer of fog shrouding the hoar frost covered landscape. It was reminiscent of one of my best selling images, Chair 6, captured from a chairlift on an equally foggy Christmas morning several years ago.

It’s those unique moments when a landscape becomes more than its physical self and is unlikely to ever look exactly that same way again.

For me that might have been the best gift of the day shared with a man who also shares my love for our natural world.

Photographing atmospherics is a passion of mine. It transforms a landscape and creates an image that speaks to infinite possibilities; a perfect image to accompany the approach of the New Year.

Stephen Hawking also encouraged us to be curious and to make sense of what we see, and to wonder about what makes the universe exist.

I am continually reminded to take each day as it comes, to make it count, and most of all, to never take it for granted.

Thank you to all who have been with me from the beginning and to those who have joined me along the journey.

May your New Year be filled with joy and a spectrum full of possibilities!

Winter Solstice…

a perfect time to reflect on the year.

DSC_2745-Edit-2-3Let the dawns

come late,

let the sunsets

arrive early,

let the evenings

extend themselves

while I lean into

the abyss of my being

Joyce Rupp Winter’s Cloak

I love the starkness of a winter landscape when the trees are laid bare.

I love the extra time in the mornings to look at the night sky.

I love the feeling of solitude that comes with ours being the only tracks on a blanket of fresh snow.

For those celebrating the Winter Solstice, I hope your day is filled with peace, love, and joy.

Retrospective…

on the year.

DSC_1687-EditOn the shore

Of the wide world I stand alone, and think

Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

John Keats

I think that it’s a sign of growth when we can look at what we do and how we do it and evaluate if that still works for us. For me December is the perfect time to do that and gear up for the coming year.

For example, I am a believer that how you keep your work space is a clear indicator of your mental health. I used to feel that a work space that was cluttered and filled with ongoing, unfinished work was a sign of great creativity. Looking back at that now I realize that you can’t be working to your full potential in a messy environment and taking it one step further, if you dig deep, I think you’ll find that it is an indicator of poor mental health and unhappiness.

I look at the images that I love to create and by far the cleanest, simplest imagery is what fuels my passion the most so why would I ever think that cluttered would work for me?

I’ve spent this year simplifying my life, my gear, my studio and in the process of doing so find myself finishing off the year feeling inspired and focused.

It’s that time of year…plan some goals, clean up your work space, and start the New Year off with a clear direction and a plan of how to get there from here.

Reading a little poetry won’t hurt either, I highly recommend When I Have Fears by John Keats.

In need of therapy…

take a walk in nature.

DSC_2679-Edit-EditSometimes you stumble across a few chords that put you in a reflective place.

David Bowie

I’m reminded on a continual basis that “time” is not a given and that every moment is precious.

I’m reminded that “home” will never look the same for me as it once did.

I’m reminded that the memories of my “past” will be forever changed.

I’m reminded that all of that is okay.

And all this from a river view of geese in the early morning.

Cheap therapy.

And in a moment…

everything changes.

DSC_2238-Edit-3Now Autumn’s fire burns slowly along the woods and day by day the dead leaves fall and melt.

William Allingham

Don’t wish for the season to change.

Don’t stay where you’re not happy.

Don’t wait for a better time.

Don’t forget to say I love you.

Architect…

as a verb.

DSC_1817-Edit-2It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam.This crisp winter air is full of it.

John Burroughs

I watched an inspiring speech by Mathew McConaughey this week, thank you LH for posting it, that talked about being the architects of our own lives. To not do the things that put our souls in jeopardy. To find out who we are not in order to then learn who we are.

Timing…sometimes that’s the critical element that allows a message to really sink in and for me the timing was right to hear words about simplifying my life.

Every time I pick up a camera I choose very deliberately what will be within that framework so why then is it so difficult to use that same process in life?

We are each as individual as the snowflake pictured above. We each value and follow different paths in search of that which brings happiness and contentment. If we were to compare those snapshots of our lives each would look entirely different.

Following along the lines of last week’s blog post of a self-portrait, I am going to spend more time treating my life as a photograph, carefully framing its elements, removing those that no longer suit, and filling it with those things that feed my soul.

Architect as a verb…that works for me.